JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Urban Meyer’s NFL business has always been blessed with a complete debacle.
A longtime college coach making the jump to a league he knew little or nothing about? A renowned motivator using inspirational tactics on professional players who are primarily motivated by money? A guy who built programs and his reputation by accumulating more talent than his opponents by gaining the upper hand on a league laughing stock with no playmakers?
At best, he was far from certain that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be Meyer’s latest and greatest achievement. A failed experiment would be the most likely outcome. Meyer isn’t here yet, but he’s heading in that direction. And no one could have seen it happen so quickly or be so extreme.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan publicly berated Meyer on Tuesday for the coach’s “inexcusable” behavior at an Ohio bar over the weekend. Meyer’s stock was the latest embarrassment for a franchise that has been primarily a bottom feeder since Khan took over in 2012.
Khan released a statement condemning Meyer’s actions, which were captured on video and shared on social media. One shows a young woman dancing near Meyer’s lap as he sits on a bar stool, a clip that quickly went viral. A second, more damning video appears to show Meyer touching the woman’s butt.
“I raised this issue with Urban. Details of our conversation will be kept confidential. What I will say is that his conduct last weekend was inexcusable, ”Khan said. “I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now he must regain our trust and respect. This will require a personal commitment from Urban to all who support, represent or play for our team. I am convinced he will deliver.
Meyer apologized on Monday to his family, his team and Khan. He spoke to his players and pledged to “own it,” the motto he uses every day and has stuck it all around the Jaguars facility.
“Just stupid,” Meyer said. “I shouldn’t have put myself in that kind of position.”
Meyer scolded Khan on his weekly radio show Tuesday, saying “the conversations were horrible”.
“The locker room has been my whole life. This is all I have ever watched. When I was a young coach… I always said that there is only one thing that matters in this whole facility or organization and that is the dressing room, ”said Meyer. “You know, how we build it, how we treat it, how we gain their trust. …
“The fact that I have become a distraction, I have to regain their confidence through it. “
Jacksonville (0-4), which has lost a franchise record in 19 straight games, hosts Tennessee (2-2) on Sunday. Meyer raised his eyebrows as he said his team captains would play a central role in getting the Jaguars back on track and ready to play after days of mistrust.
“I don’t think it’s on my side,” he said. “The team leaders are going to make this decision. It depends on how much trust you have built with them, how we structure everything this week and how we focus on winning this game. Let me be as clear as possible: our staff are working very hard. But you know as well as I do that the ownership of this team belongs to the players. “
Meyer did not return with his team winless after Jacksonville’s 24-21 loss to Cincinnati on Thursday night, a highly unusual move for a coach.
Instead, he stayed in his home state of Ohio to see his family members and went out to dinner Friday at his restaurant / bar in Columbus, Urban Meyer’s Pint House.
The first video shows a young blonde woman dancing between the legs of Meyer, 57, as he sat on a bar stool. The second, taken from a different angle, shows Meyer’s right hand on or near her buttocks.
Meyer said he was concerned the videos could have long-term ramifications with the players he asked to buy in his makeover.
“Each locker room is different. Every team is different, ”he said. “I told people that a team is a living organism that is obviously culturally driven and led by leaders. I believe we have a very strong culture. I know we have amazing leaders. But this one is on me to go out and train the best I can, to give them whatever I can do to help them be successful.
Meyer is also committed to mending broken relationships, including regaining Khan’s trust.
“I made a comment when I got here about the logo, about an owner who wants to win in the worst possible way,” Meyer said. “This is one of the reasons I came here. I admire this guy so much. His training is in the purest form and it’s for Jacksonville. And so that’s what makes me so angry with myself that I went through this, I believe that, and I failed. And I have to get it back, and I will.